The lemons are ready! I have been preserving lemons for the last few months and they are perfect! I used them for the first time last week in a warm grain salad. The best way to keep your preserved lemons is in the same container they started in. When you are ready to use some, take out what you need, rinse the lemons off with water and remove the flesh, the skin is what you want to keep.
Preserved lemons are very versatile- from vinaigrette to a cocktail!
The first dish for the lemons was inspired by not having much in the refrigerator- another busy week at work. Perfect timing to as it was Monday! Have you heard about Meatless Mondays- I’m pretty impressed about how this initiative has gained steam. Meatless Mondays, is a nonprofit initiative of The Monday Campaigns, in association with the Johns Hopkins’ Bloomberg School of Public Health. Families across the country are joining in- whether their reasons are health based or financial based, 1/3 of the country has reduced their meat consumption in 2011. Grains, tofu, soy are offering replacement proteins and a healthy alternatives. This brings us to the popularity of grains- which can be seen all over the food magazines and in most restaurants. Chefs are now wondering …what else can we do with grains??
Here is the recipe that my preserved lemons made their first appearance-
Preserved Lemon and Curried Grains
- 1 ½ cup uncooked spelt
- 1 ½ cup uncooked kasha
- 1 ½ cup uncooked lentils
- 3 tablespoon olive oil
- ½ cup diced onions
- 2 tablespoon chopped garlic
- 24 oz. coconut curry broth
- 6 tablespoon chopped preserved lemons
- 2 tablespoons curry powder
- 6 tablespoons chopped cilantro
- 3 oz. roasted red pepper
- 1 teaspoon ground red pepper
- 1 ½ cup green beans, cut into bite size pieces
- ½ pint grape tomatoes
It’s pretty easy to cook grains- start by washing them off with water. Put a pot on the stove and add the washed grains, add water or stock to about two inches above the grains. Bring to a slow boil and cook until tender. When the grains are a la dente, drain them from the pot with a colander. You can cool them down and reheat them when you are ready to serve. This is a great way to prepare meals for a busy week.
- Cook the grains to a la dente.
- Place a large stock pot on the stove over medium high heat; add olive oil, followed by the onions and garlic. Sauté until translucent.
- Add the cooked grains to the pot and stir in broth.
- Mix in the lemons, curry, cilantro, roasted peppers and ground red pepper. Allow to gently simmer, giving the flavors a chance to meld.
- Put the green beans and tomatoes into the pot about 15 minutes before serving- this will keep their beautiful, bright color.
Like with many other soups and stews, this dish gets better with time. Give it an hour or a day the flavor will deepen. Another similarity to soups and stews is ingredients can be of the “clean the fridge” mentality- no beans? Use cauliflower- any vegetable or none will work! The grains can also be switched up.
My favorite meals are alway the ones when I have “nothing’ to cook for dinner!
Cheers to Meatless Monday!